Now, this isn’t really enough to create the conditions for a fall, but you have to understand the house he lives in and what he does during the day. He has an office in the basement, then goes up and down a narrow steep flight of stairs many times a day. The bedroom is on the second floor of the house, and the kitchen and living room or on the main floor. Every day he goes up and down many times.
My concern, when I let myself think about it, is that due to his difficulties with mobility, that someday he may trip on that narrow flight of stairs. If this happens, he’ll go down with a crash, and it’s not going to be pretty.
I’ve been trying to think of ways to create some kind of a safety net–metaphorical, not literal–for him in case this happens. Like many of you, I’m nervous about opening the conversation about a medical alert device that he could use in case of a fall. I just don’t get the sense that he’s ready to wear a pendant or wrist device, especially when it’s not very attractive, all day long, in case he falls sometime in the next 20 years. He doesn’t have serious medical issues except for this difficulty and pain with walking.
I’m only options are considered our medical alert devices that come with panic buttons that you can stick on the wall in various places in your house. If I were to use these, I would set them up with a medical alert system that dials my cell phone number so that I could then talk to him and find out if he needed me to call somebody. Most of the time my mother is in the house to, but they’re often separated by a couple of floors and it might be hard for her to hear him.
Helping our aging parents is a tricky balance to because we have to be sensitive to their pride–just as we ask them to be sensitive to our pride at various stages in our lives. Especially when you’re trying to help from a long distance it can be challenging to find the right balance.
I’ll be seeing him in a couple of weeks, and I think what I’m going to ask him is what he thinks would be a good solution for them as they get older in the house and whether he’s concerned about being able to get help. I don’t want to come in with a strong suggestion of what they should do because it doesn’t come from them they might not do it.
I’ll let you know how it goes.
Photo by Felipe_Gabaldon